It's always cool when someone who is about to hit the big time lives within a stone's throw of your house (or at least a very short drive from it). Such is the case with Sharon Little from North Wales, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.
Depsite her proximity I just saw the young singer live for the very first time this past weekend at the XPoNential Music Festival hosted annually by WXPN - 88.5 FM , public radio from the University of Pennsylvania. Little was the opening act on the main stage of the Saturday portion of the festival held each July in Camden, New Jersey's Wiggins Park. The stage is on the Delaware River overlooking a great view of the skyline of The City Of Brotherly Love.
For a young lady in her twenties Little has a very fine stage presence. She has a lot of poise and always knows exactly what to say and when to say it. She is as self-assured as someone who has been gigging for twenty years. Her band was tight and the singer's expressive vocal style is far removed from those breathy female weaklings who believe that singing barely above a whisper is the only way to show emotion in their music. Her voice, while not as powerful or as mature sounding as great singers such as Susan Tedeschi or Bonnie Raitt, is perfectly suited for her self-written repertoire of songs. Little is not a true blues belter nor is she an R & B queen, but there are enough of both styles in her rock 'n roll to prove she isn't a wimp.
Little's show forced me to head over to the CD booth later and plunk down ten dollars for her major label debut, Perfect Time For A Breakdown, released last year on CBS Records. The CD is a very nice affair, Little's voice is in full flower, but it's a disc I would like even more if I hadn't heard her live first. The album is still a worthwhile purchase, but in the studio her R & B and blues influences are less apparent than they are in concert. The belief here is that Little's career would best be served by ratcheting up the intensity of her recording sessions to match her concert performances.